Registration is now open for the winter Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme, offering free activities for children and young people across Gloucestershire while they're off school for Christmas.
Gloucestershire County Council is using grant funding from the Department of Education to provide enriching opportunities and fun holiday activities for children who receive benefits-related free school meals, with the programme running from Monday 19 to Thursday 22 December 2022.
Families will be able to choose from all kinds of fantastic activities, including children's Christmas parties, drama and science workshops, as well as various sports, games and arts and crafts sessions. Not to mention the chance to visit some of Gloucestershire's ticketed attractions, which proves popular with families every year.
Open to school children from reception to Year 11, eligible families are encouraged to register for the Children's Activities Booking System (CABS) now to ensure they can benefit from the scheme before bookings open on Thursday 1 December 2022.
Families can register via gloucestershire.gov.uk/haf. Anyone who is already registered should make sure their account information and children's details are up-to-date, so the programme can be better tailored to meet their children's individual needs.
Councillor Stephen Davies, cabinet member for children’s social care and early years at Gloucestershire County Council, said: 'I’m delighted that we can offer families extra support this Christmas to help them to stay healthy and have fun.
'The Holiday Activities and Food programme is going from strength to strength, thanks to successful partnership working with our district partners who have lots of free festive fun in store for families again this December.'
The council is also providing two weeks' worth of Holiday Free School Meal (FSM) vouchers for families who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals, to give extra support over the holiday season.
Parents will receive £30 per child from reception to Year 11, equivalent to £15 per child, per week — with the vouchers distributed via email on Tuesday 13 December 2022, in plenty of time for the Christmas food shop.
Parents can apply for the vouchers via gloucestershire.gov.uk/holiday-school-meal-vouchers until midday on Tuesday 6 December 2022. Those who have previously registered are automatically included and don't need to reapply.
In addition to this, anyone who needs more support this winter can apply to the Household Support Fund, which helps households in need with food, essential items and energy and water bills.